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As part of their final exam, second-year Doctor of Physical Therapy students led a Parkinson’s exercise class for members of the Greater Fresno Parkinson’s Support Group. Under the direction of Assistant Professor, Dr. Marcia Thompson, the 16 students utilized what they learned in class to facilitate the exercise class, which built their understanding of Parkinson’s Disease and incorporated best practice in physical therapy management of individuals with the disease.

“Exercise is protective to the brain and can help maximize function for these individuals [with Parkinson’s],” said Thompson.

DSC_2230Arlene Beard (pictured at left), who leads the Greater Fresno Parkinson’s Support Group, said about 80 individuals attend the group’s monthly meetings, including most recently, about 6-10 physical therapy students, who interact with the patients and help them move better.
“The students are very encouraging  and wonderful,” said Beard. “They’re learning a lot about Parkinson’s just by being there. The patients like having them there because it shows them that someone is there to help them. The future of physical therapy looks pretty bright.”
DSC_2224Student Melissa Miller said the relationship built with the support group is essential to facilitating the exercise class for their final exam and to improving the overall health of the Parkinson’s patients.
“They will be able to practice these exercises at home,” said Miller. “We can give them something they can take to their other Parkinson’s support members and share what they learned. We also build a good relationship with the group, so that’s really good.”
Please view the video above to see just how the physical therapy students got Parkinson’s patients moving in a fun and interactive way. Great work, DPT c/o 2017! Students that participated in the class included:
  • Aaron Bae
  • Carolyn Bentley
  • Mario Crespin
  • Diana Joyner
  • Ben Fox
  • Andrew Le
  • Megan Machado
  • Josh Madonick
  • Melissa Miller
  • Karen Murata
  • Jacquie Romero
  • Lucie Taba
  • Mason Tregoning
  • Courtney Williams
  • Collen Wooten
  • Justin Yun
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The DPT c/o 2017 that facilitated the Parkinson’s exercise class.

For more information, contact Dr. Marcia Thompson at marciat@csufresno.edu.